Friday, February 22, 2013

Pediatricians and Policy - A Vaccine Story - Part 2 of 2

This is my experience on the journey of vaccine safety. To read more about why we've chosen to delay some vaccines and not give others, "like" me on Facebook, Christine Emmick - Freelance Writer.

Read A Vaccine Story Part 1 of 2

When we found out we were pregnant with our fourth, we were not only more prepared, we were more educated. We asked all the right questions and found a pediatrician that would honor our wishes as parents, or so we thought. We went and discussed our beliefs with two of the pediatricians prior to the birth of #4 and felt confident that we had found the group for our family.

Photo Credit: NathanF, No Endorsement Implied
The tune changed at her two month appointment. We were scheduled with a nurse practitioner who was not aware of the previous discussions with the other two doctors. When presented with the idea of selecting one vaccine instead of all four (including 7 different pathogens) she was visibly angry. Notating the previous discussions, I asked her which vaccine was the most important to get first.

Shaking with intensity, she responded, “In my opinion they are ALL important!” I was shocked and a little humored that a medical professional of her rank was so thrown by my question. She continued to assert that they were safe and if I was concerned about mercury, I needn't be. In a rush, she left the room and returned with a data sheet of how much mercury was in each shot.

After I looked at the chart for a minute, I noticed there were differences in the amount of mercury per brand. I exclaimed, “This DTaP has three TIMES more mercury than the Pediarix!” She threw her hands up and left the room, for what seemed like an eternity.

When she finally returned, I described to her a severe allergic reaction my brother had when getting the DTaP shot back in the late 70s, and then I calmly posed this question: “If we give her all four of these and she has an allergic reaction, how do we know which one caused it?”

Defeated and visibly angry, she said, “We don’t.”

She again urged me to get all of them. I was intentionally evasive because I had no intention of getting all of them that day. Since my older child was there getting some stitches removed, she asked me to send her in while I thought about it. We ended up leaving the office without any vaccines that day.

What was scarily ironic was that my daughter had only gained 2 ounces in 2 weeks and she never batted an eye at her weight. She was so upset that I was not “on board” with the shot schedule, she completely ignored a possible serious health problem.

In her effort to protect the herd immunity, she unintentionally neglected the health of her patient.

The staff never scheduled us to see her again. I'm guessing it was her choice. I would have been happy to have the conversation with her about the benefits of immunizations again. I'm guessing she was not up for the questions I would throw at her.

Despite this rocky start, we spent nearly 3 happy, well cared for years at this pediatrician’s office visiting only one doctor in the group. He listened to my concerns, and answered all of my questions in a thoughtful, kind manner. More than that, he respected my intelligence, and my decisions regarding my children’s healthcare, even if he didn't agree with all of them.

We've moved, so that beloved pediatrician is now over an hour from us. We are seeing a new one for the kid’s yearly checkups next month. I am praying that she will be as awesome as my last one. ;)

Coincidentally, or maybe not so, my oldest daughter who was the only one to receive her two month old shots on schedule, is the only one of my children who shows signs of Asperger's. I will always wonder if her life would be different had I not caved to the doctor's bullying that day.

If this article helps you in any way, please comment here, or like me on Facebook and comment there. Feedback, and your donations, keep That’s What Breasts are For running. Thanks for your gift!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pediatricians and Policy - A Vaccine Story - Part 1 of 2

This is my experience on the journey of vaccine safety. To read more about why we've chosen to delay some vaccines and not give others, "like" me on Facebook, Christine Emmick - Freelance Writer.

By the time my first child was two months old in 2001, I had read enough about the vaccine debate to question the full schedule the Department of Heath recommended. I walked in to the office fully expecting to have an intelligent discussion with the pediatrician about why they were necessary and what the risks and benefits were. Instead I received a short, rather stern answer to my concerns.

"If you don't go by the schedule, you can't be a patient here."

Photo Credit: NathanF, No Endorsement Implied
Reluctantly, I caved to the bullying and signed the consent forms for all the immunizations. What happened next was nothing less than a tragedy.

As my 2 month old baby lay screaming, the nurse came in with her handful of 4 shots. Working quickly, the nurse injected one in each leg, and one in each tiny arm of my 2 month old, leaving bleeding track marks due to the abruptness of her manner.

As she was doing it, I asked her why she was injecting into her arm. She said, "that's how we do it." I left in tears wishing I never set foot into that office. I never went back again.

We then switched to a family care doctor who was more amiable to the discussion of vaccine safety, but she still asserted that following the schedule was best. After breastfeeding issues with our second child proved too much for the office to handle, we decided we needed a pediatrician to follow our children's health.

This brought us to our town's breastfeeding experts, but it also brought us to another vaccine dilemma. Although this office was slightly more amiable, they were not willing to delay any vaccine in the schedule any longer than two weeks. When we told them we’d like to spread them out further, I was told again that we needed to follow the schedule.

With the delivery of my third child only a month away, I got a letter saying that my children were no longer welcome at their office.

Out of desperation  we decided to go with the pediatrician that served us in the hospital. They seemed to care about our need for close monitoring of our newborns due to breastfeeding issues, and when asked about immunizations they simply said, “We’d like you to get them.”

We found out differently when we requested a delayed schedule. After our request to have only one new vaccine at a time was granted, we got “behind” and were given a warning. It was gentler this time, but no less threatening. “I don’t want to do this, but if you don’t get them caught up you won’t be able to bring them here.” By now we knew this meant we were soon to get a letter, and we’d need to find another doctor for our children.

Read A Vaccine Story Part 2 of 2

If this article helps you in any way, please comment here, or like me on Facebook and comment there. Feedback, and your donations, keep That’s What Breasts are For running. Thanks for your gift!

Monday, February 11, 2013

BabyBjorn Potty Seat...A Mom's Review

After going through the potty learning process with 4 kiddos, I've got a handle on it. Wipe, Flush, Wash is easy to say, tough to get down pat. This is my 3rd potty seat. My first was a gift, handmade from wood with a slide in insert that was a huge pain to remove without smearing you know what everywhere. It was pretty, but not practical. The second was a cute little Fisherprice one with a fancy electric sound of flushing when you pressed the "silver" handle. The silver quickly wore off and all the cracks and crevices were impossible to clean.

When bubs #4 was ready, I was looking for a new seat. One that was portable, easy to use, and most importantly, easy to clean. With all those small parts and tight corners, some pottys really lose their shine after a while, both figuratively and literally. After some research, I decided to purchase this one. I can honestly say that it is the only potty I love. :) Simple, portable design, bright, fun colors, and a comfortable, easy-to-clean seat certainly do make this the best potty EVER! The BabyBjorn is easy to clean, and it's contoured seat is the most comfortable I've seen. (Honestly, getting a potty learner to sit on something with a hole in the bottom is hard enough, why make the seat uncomfortable?) The side handles help them to "aim" their behind better, and the insert easily lifts out for dumping and detailed cleaning, and their are no corners, anywhere, for dirt to hide in. It's made of extremely durable plastic AND has a non-skid base on the bottom so it doesn't slip when your kiddo sits down.

One word of caution: Although it is difficult for the insert to be placed incorrectly in the base, it is possible. When this happens your little one's bum may get pinched. This has only happened once in our 2 years of using this potty. Generally it falls into place easily.